SPECIAL COURTS AND PROTECTION OF CHILDREN FROM SEXUAL OFFENSES IN INDIA

Sesha Kethineni, Murugesan Srinivasan

Abstract


In India, the incidents of crimes against children, in particular, sexual offenses, are on the increase. The 2016 Crime in India report documents 106,958 offenses against children compared to 89,423 and 94,172 in 2014 and 2015, respectively. These incidents include crimes under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) such as the murder of a child, abetment of suicide of children, kidnapping and abduction, infanticide, trafficking of a child, and compelling children into marriage as well as crimes against children under various Special and Local Laws (SLL). The SLL crimes fall under the Juvenile Justice Act (JJA), Immoral Traffic Act, Child Labor Act, Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, and, more recently, the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act (POCSO, 2012). The article addresses the impact of the POCSO Act, including the creation of special courts to address these crimes. Information was obtained from published sources, data from the southern state of India, and an interview with the judge of the special court to identify the salient features of the POCSO Act, the role of the Mahila (women’s) Court, structural barriers for implementation of the Act, as well as risk factors for children becoming victims of child abuse.


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